With the goal of bringing down maternal and infant mortality rates to acceptable levels within next three years, the State Government has decided to intensify interventions under the reproductive, maternal, newborn child and adolescent health (RMCH+A) programme in 10 high priority districts (HPDs).
The focus would be on strengthening health systems and improvement in healthcare delivery mechanisms in the HPDs that include Malkangiri, Koraput, Gajapati, Balangir, Kandhamal, Raygada, Nabarangpur, Boudh, Kalahandi and Nuapada.
Though Odisha has seen a decline in maternal mortality rate (MMR) from 277 in 2010-11 to 235 in 2012-13 and infant mortality rate (IMR) from 62 in 2010-11 to 53 in 2012-13, the rates are still higher than the national average. The target under Millennium Development Goals (MDG) is to reduce MMR and IMR to 100 and 30 respectively.
The high priority districts have fared worse than the State average on both the counts. IMR continues to be alarming in the districts with Kandhamal posting a high of 142, Balangir 110, Raygada 103, Boudh 88, Nabrangpur 85, Gajapati 82, Malkangiri 75, Nuapada 74 and Koraput 69. The average MMR in the HPDs is also at a high of 297. Launching the intensified RMNCH+A strategy for HPDs, the Health Department on Wednesday held a consultation for all stakeholders. The consultation brought together Collectors, CDMOs, NHM programme management units and development partners to assess current status, focus areas and the way forward.
Mission Director, National Health Mission, Anuradha Gupta called for better management of field level workers like Anganwadi workers, ANMs and ASHAs, who are key to implementation of the programme. The doctors apart from clinical practices should be moulded as better managers for effective delivery of the services, she said.
Health Secretary Pradipta Mohapatra called for “waging a war against IMR and MMR” and achieving the MDG targets within 2017. In a bid to encourage and motivate the field level workers, the State Government is set to bring them under district cadre from the State cadre so that they cannot be transferred out of their districts, he said.
The RMNHC+A will provide 30 per cent higher financial allocation for the HPDs for strengthening health systems. It also entails relaxation of norms for infrastructure development, appointment of manpower, incentives, difficult area allowance and residential facilities for duty bearers.
Among others, Director of NRHM Roopa Mishra, UNFPA representative Frederika Meijer, chief of health Unicef Geneieve Begkoyian and deputy head, DFID, Meenakshi Nath were present.